- What Is It?
- How to Get Out
- See a Doctor
What is sleep paralysis?
Have you ever had an experience during the early hours of the morning when you just woke up and found yourself unable to speak or move?
There may be other sensations along with this brief “paralytic” experience like spotting a scary creature near you, hearing strange sounds, or smelling weird odors. This frightening experience lasts for no more than a few minutes, after which you can move and speak. If yes, then what you experienced is called sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is the complete inability to move for one or two minutes immediately after awakening. Episodes of sleep paralysis can be alarming because the immobility may be accompanied by hallucinations (strange smells or images) or a sensation of suffocation. The feeling of suffocation may be related to a slight reduction in lung capacity to exchange gases.
Sleep paralysis is a type of sleep disorder that typically occurs when you are either falling asleep or waking up. During both of these times, you are in a stage of sleep where although your eyes are closed but moving in all directions. This is REM or rapid eye movement sleep and your muscles are relaxed at this time.
How do you get out of sleep paralysis?
Unfortunately, there is no prescribed way to snap out of sleep paralysis. You need to remember, however, that the condition is transient and you will be out of the experience within a few seconds. You can try to remind yourself that it is a harmless experience and focus on some good memory or a small prayer that calms you. You can, however, prevent the episodes of sleep paralysis in the following ways:
- Manage stress using meditation/yoga/listening to calming music
- Do regular exercise, but avoid exercising right before bedtime
- Practice a regular schedule of going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time every day
- Avoid sleeping on your back as it has been linked to the condition
- If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, take help from a health professional
- Avoid taking naps
Do you hallucinate during sleep paralysis?
Some people may experience hallucinations during sleep paralysis. The hallucinations may last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Researchers suggest that the cause of these hallucinations may be a transient and harmless neurological disturbance.
The hallucinations can include:
- A fearful apprehension (feeling that something bad will happen)
- A sensation that someone is in the bedroom
- Feeling that someone or something is there on your chest or choking you
- Spotting a “demon in the room:” An image of a frightening creature like a ghost, monster, witch, or demon near you
What causes sleep paralysis?
The reasons behind why and how sleep paralysis occurs are not well understood. Researchers say that sleep paralysis occurs due to interruptions in the REM sleep cycles. Anybody can get sleep paralysis; however, some conditions may make a person more prone:
Do you need to see a doctor for sleep paralysis?
Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis is fairly common. It should not affect your sleep or health. Talk to your doctor if episodes of sleep paralysis make you anxious. You should see a sleep specialist if the episodes keep you up at night or make you feel tired in the daytime. Treatment of sleep paralysis is aimed at its root cause.
- Sleep deprivation may trigger sleep paralysis. Getting at least six to eight hours of sleep per night may help.
- People with psychiatric issues may suffer from sleep paralysis. An example is someone who has bipolar disorder. This person would need to be treated for bipolar disorder treatment with medication.
- People with narcolepsy (a sleep disorder) often have sleep paralysis. They need antidepressant medication to reduce or eliminate dream sleep. Taking an antidepressant drug does not mean that you are depressed. It is simply a method to help reduce sleep paralysis.
Latest Sleep News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Do You Hallucinate During Sleep Paralysis? Related Articles
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment may incorporate mood-stabilizer medications, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.
Bipolar SlideshowBipolar disorder (once called manic depression) causes extreme mood shifts and can be disorienting. Our experts define bipolar disorder, discuss bipolar symptoms, and describe bipolar medications that can help.
Bipolar Disorder vs. SchizophreniaBipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental illnesses that share some risk factors and treatments. Symptoms of bipolar disorder include mood changes and manic and depressive episodes. Symptoms of schizophrenia include unusual behavior, delusions, and hallucinations.
Drug AbuseDrug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Drug Abuse SlideshowWhat is drug abuse? Learn about prescription drug abuse and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, including depressants, pain relievers, and stimulants.
Exercise Stress TestStress tests are performed by a doctor or trained technician to determine the amount of stress that your heart can manage before developing either an abnormal rhythm or evidence of ischemia. Your doctor uses the stress test to determine if there is adequate blood flow to your heart during increasing levels of activity, evaluate the effectiveness of your heart medications to control angina and ischemia, determine the likelihood of having coronary heart disease and the need for further evaluation, check the effectiveness of procedures done to improve blood flow within the heart vessels in people with coronary heart disease, identify abnormal heart rhythms, and to help you develop a safe exercise program. Preparation for these types of stress tests will vary. Ask your doctor about any specific instructions.
Panic Attacks QuizCould you suffer a panic attack? Take this Panic Attacks Quiz to learn causes, symptoms, and treatments for panic disorder. Use this quiz to learn to recognize the main elements of this serious, yet common disorder known as panic attacks.
Post-traumatic Stress DisorderPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, sweating, rapid heart rate, detachment, amnesia, sleep problems, irritability, and exaggerated startle response. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, group support, and medication.
Prescription Drug AbuseLearn about prescription drug abuse facts and statistics about the dangers and misconceptions of abusing common prescription drugs.
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include:
- Feeling sleepy during the day
- Concentration or memory problems
Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Strange AddictionsAre you addicted? People aren’t only addicted to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Patterns of addiction can be found in less obvious places, from shopping to gambling to exercise. Learn what experts have to say about porn addiction, sugar addiction, and the definition of addiction.
StressStress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Stress Management TechniquesStress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in disease causation. Managing stress in our lives is important. Elimination of stress is unrealistic, since stress is a part of normal life. We can however, learn to manage stress through techniques such as exercise, relaxation, meditation, time management, and support systems so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.
Teen Drug AbuseDrugs commonly abused by teens include tobacco products, marijuana, cold medications, inhalants, depressants, stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens, PCP, ketamine, Ecstasy, and anabolic steroids. Some of the symptoms and warning signs of teen drug abuse include reddened whites of eyes, paranoia, sleepiness, excessive happiness, seizures, memory loss, increased appetite, discolored fingertips, lips or teeth, and irritability. Treatment of drug addiction may involve a combination of medication, individual, and familial interventions.
What Does a Narcoleptic Attack Feel Like?With narcolepsy, you may experience attacks in which you can fall asleep in the middle of any activity. These attacks are known as “narcoleptic sleep attacks.” In between sleep attacks, you have normal levels of alertness, particularly if you are doing activities that keep you alert.